Cliff notes Version: Friends, this is a rather long post - the short version is this: Hey, look, I have a new web address! To celebrate the new address and Valentine's Day, I'll be posting a short poem or story each day this week around the theme of love. Check back frequently - next week I'll return to my usual posting schedule.
A Field of Wild Flowers grew out of a vision that arrived in early 2011 as I sat praying in the calm, white, spacious place of my Spiritual Director’s office. It came at a time when life as I knew it (i.e. planned it) seemed to have ended. It came when, for reasons deep and wide, I could no longer see a clear path laid out ahead of me; my sense of destination as well as my means of travel appeared to be irreparably lost.
Which is all a fancy way to say that my life was upended by the arrival of twins, by a departure from my job as an Associate Pastor, and by the slow surrender of my long-held dream of attaining a PhD in Biblical Studies. Before the twins’ arrival, I lived cloistered in our culture’s fantastical illusion that life is a highway – a long, sometimes winding, but steady road toward a distant destination which, most often, goes by the name ‘success.’ And, although we may each define it differently, the successful among us all agree that steady and determined movement toward it is key.
But, like Dante, “Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself in dark woods, the right road lost. To tell about those woods is hard – so tangled and rough.” I worked through those tangled, rough woods for months before I was free enough to embrace a new vision – to accept my placement somewhat “off of the main road” and commit to really exploring it. What came to me, in the wake of acceptance, was the image of a field of wild flowers – a place with many paths, a space for wandering and discovery, a place of being rather than going.
Thus was born, A Field of Wild Flowers. Words became the lens through which I explored the daily looking for signs of life in the middle of this wide open space on the side of the road. For five years, now, I’ve lived and written from that field, finding God in everything from housework to hens. The more I explored the field of my life, the more I realized what I feared most wasn’t my failure to reach life’s highway’s destination, but the idea that God was somehow waiting for me in that imagined destination - the idea that the love and acceptance, the presence I longed for, was tied up in success' illusory arrival. Imagine, then, my continual surprise and delight, at discovering again and again that God is right here with me on the side of the road, picking flowers, tending house and home, incarnate in each moment as it comes.
Now, five years in, I find myself again in a place of transition, though less lost and less afraid. I’ve learned to make my home here in the field of God’s goodness and grace and discovered that this is, in fact, my destination. Writing has been the means of both discovering and exploring this destination. Over the past several months I've found a new sense of clarity around my intentions as I continue to nurture and expand this site.
I want to create and hold spaces where others can consider the possibilities of God’s presence in all aspects of their one precious life. I want to help others learn to live in and listen beyond the surface of their days, to begin to discover the heartbeat of God that rolls like a steady drum beneath the peaks and valleys of daily life. I want to tell stories that explore the possibilities of God’s presence, that illuminate the incarnational realities of God’s dwelling in our midst. As such, I want to open and share with you the joys, sorrows, hopes and heartaches of This Contemplative Life.
My hope is that this new site will allow me to both broaden and deepen my reach online and through in-person events. I plan to continue to post here once or twice a week and will also add a newsletter that will go out twice a month. This site will continue to boast a wide array of stories, thoughts and reflections; my hope isn’t to narrow my content but rather broaden my audience.
My newsletter, Quiet Lights, will, offer short, simple reflections, images or poems to serve as an invitation to contemplation. The newsletter will also feature updates on upcoming events.
While I’m a little sad to move away from the image of wild flowers, which continues to ground me in the present, I’m excited to move into This Contemplative Life. This Contemplative Life will continue to be a space that focuses on the small, day-to-day stories of my own life, but my hope is that my practice of attending to the intricacies of my own life will inspire you to attend to the details of your own life – for, contrary to popular opinion it’s God, not the devil, who’s found in the details.
As always, I'm grateful for the quiet, faithful readership that has grown up around A Field of Wild Flowers. A change to a new web address is a bit scary and I'd love your continued support and help as I move forward. Here are three simple ways you can help me grow this space:
* Please share this webpage, help me build a growing audience.
* Like my Facebook page (still working to update the name there!).
* Sign up for the bi-monthly newsletter, Quiet Lights, and feel free to share that and the resources therein with others too.
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